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Authority record
Art Gallery of Ontario

Faichney, John (1952-)

  • AGOAC00341
  • Person
  • 1952 -

John Faichney is a Canadian dancer, television producer and software analyst born in Montreal in 1952. He graduated from Oberlin College where he developed an interest in choreography and dance improvisation. In May 1976 he performed at the Centre for Experimental Art & Communication (CEAC) in Toronto and was invited to join the Centre’s staff. Amongst other activities, he designed printed matter, maintained exchange programs with other artists’ groups, curated an exhibition of artists’ books and managed distribution of mailings and periodicals (including Strike, a quasi monthly newspaper.) An offshoot of the Kensington Art Association, CEAC moved in 1976 to 86 John Street and then to 15 Duncan Street, offering space for performance art, installations, videos and music. Key members of the group were Amerigo Marras, Suber Corley, Bruce Eves and Ron Gillespie (a.k.a Ron Giii); Marras in particular encouraged connections with European and American artists. The group became increasingly politicized and in 1978 its government funding was rescinded. An attempt at self sufficiency by starting a television production studio at 124 Lisgar Street was not sustainable and CEAC disbanded in 1980. John Faichney lives in Kitchener, Ontario, and remains involved with Contact Improvisation.

Bagnani, Gilbert, 1900-1985

  • AGOAC00541
  • Person
  • 1900 - 1985

Gilbert Forrest Bagnani (1900-1985) was a professor of ancient history. He was born in Rome to General Ugo Bagnani and Florence Dewar. He served as a Second Lieutenant of artillery towards the end of World War I. After the War he returned to the University of Rome where he received his doctorate. Instead of entering law as he had planned, he turned to the Italian School of Archaeology in Athens to study antiquities. In 1929 Gilbert married Mary Augusta Stewart Houston (1903-1996) of Toronto, daughter of Stewart Houston (editor of "The Financial Post") and Augusta Robinson (daughter of John Beverley Robinson, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and granddaughter of Sir John Beverley Robinson, Chief Justice and Attorney-General of Upper Canada). Gilbert and Stewart had an apartment in Rome and for seven seasons worked, in the Sahara Desert, with the Royal Archaeological Mission to Egypt. In 1937 they fled fascist Italy and purchased a 200 acre farm and house built around 1845 near Port Hope, Ontario and named it "Vogrie". In 1945 Gilbert was invited to teach ancient history at the University of Toronto and in 1958 became a Professor. He retired from the University of Toronto in 1965. The Bagnanis returned to "Vogrie". In the same year, Gilbert was asked to accept a term-appointment at Trent University. He was honoured with a LL.D. by Trent in 1971 and he continued to teach as a Professor of Ancient History until 1975.

Vale, Florence

  • AGOAC0043
  • Person
  • 1909-2003

Florence Vale, Canadian artist, was born on April 18, 1909 in llford, Essex, England and died on July 23, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her family immigrated to Toronto two years after her birth, where she grew up with an interest in music. She married artist Albert Franck on June 8, 1929, and together they bought a house on Hazelton Avenue in Toronto which became a centre for artists, writers, musicians, and critics. Florence Vale was the mother of two children, Trudy (who died as an infant) and Anneke.
Florence Vale began to paint with her husband’s paints and brushes in the late 1940’s with no previous artistic training – only what she had learned under the influence of her husband and the artists who visited her home. Her art was influenced by Surrealism, Cubism, Expressionism, and the works of Paul Klee. After her husband’s death in 1973, Florence Vale continued to express her artistic ability with oil paints, collages, and ink, also including her own poetry in some of her works. Many of her works, most prominently after the death of her husband, were erotic, while still viewed by critics as keeping a whimsical, innocent tone. Her art appeared in exhibitions throughout Ontario, with exhibitions also in Quebec and New York, U.S.A. She was associated with the Gadatsy Gallery, Toronto.

Milne, David

  • AGOAC0012
  • Person
  • 1882-1953

David Brown Milne (Burgoyne, Ontario 1882 – Bancroft, Ontario 1953) was a painter and etcher; he is widely considered to be among the most outstanding Canadian artists. He worked as a schoolteacher before deciding to study painting in New York where, in 1903, he enrolled in the Art Students’ League. Milne supported himself through commercial artwork but actively and successfully developed his own painting, exhibiting five canvases in the famous Armory Show of 1913. His friends during this period included James (“René”) Clarke, with whom he maintained a correspondence for many years. In 1916, Milne and his wife Patsy (née May Frances Hagerty), whom he had married in 1912, left the city and settled in Boston Corners, New York. In late 1917 Milne joined the Canadian army as a private, and in 1918 was appointed as a war artist to record the locations of battles that had involved Canadian troops. Milne returned to Boston Corners in 1919, where he spent most of his winters until 1928, summering in the Adirondacks. He moved to Ottawa for one year in 1923, when the National Gallery of Canada bought six of his watercolours. In 1928, Milne moved permanently back to Ontario (he separated from his wife in 1933), spending extended periods of time alone in the wilderness regions north of Toronto. Palgrave, a short drive from Toronto, became Milne’s home from 1930 to 1933, and from 1933 to 1939 he lived in a cabin on Six Mile Lake near Georgian Bay. He maintained an interest in the Toronto art scene and developed a small group of patrons including Alice and Vincent Massey, and Douglas Duncan of the Picture Loan Society, who acted as Milne’s agent and dealer for many years. He met his second wife Kathleen Pavey in 1938 and lived with her from 1939; their only child David Jr. was born in 1941. The Milnes lived in Uxbridge from 1940 to 1946. From 1947 Milne lived and worked at Baptiste Lake, with Kathleen and David Jr. joining him periodically. As Milne’s health deteriorated, the family moved to Bancroft to be closer to Baptiste Lake. Milne died at Bancroft in December 1953. His work is represented in numerous public collections, notably the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Mercer Union (gallery)

  • AGOAC00788
  • Corporate body
  • 1979 -

Mercer Union was created by former members of A.C.T. in 1979 to operate as an artist-run, non-profit cooperative gallery. Twelve founders contributed financially to the rental of a ground floor space at 29 Mercer Street and planned to mix local, regional, national and international exhibits, collaborating with other artist-run programs. Its mandate was to exhibit new work in the most advanced forms of painting and sculpture that was not receiving exposure in the commercial and public galleries. Performance art, installations and music were incorporated into the programming, which has continued to represent innovative and sometimes controversial material. Twelve board members are elected by dues-paying members and serve on the various committees (programming, curatorial, etc), with the help of a small paid staff. The gallery moved to 333 Adelaide Street West, 5th floor in 1981 and 439 King Street West in 1994. Their present location is 37 Lisgar Street; current information about the gallery can be obtained at www.mercerunion.org.

Master Print and Drawing Society of Ontario

  • AGOAC00247
  • Corporate body
  • 1985 -

The Master Print and Drawing Society of Ontario (MPDSO) is the first independent body of specialist collectors of prints and drawings in Canada. Founded in 1985 by Sidney Bregman and Katharine Lochnan, the Society first came into existence as the Master Print and Drawing Society, and operated as a non-profit educational association that provided special assistance to its members with problems unique to collecting. The Society is officially affiliated with the Art Gallery of Ontario, but is an independent organization belonging to its members, and through its Board of Directors determines its objectives, policies and activities, requirements for membership, selection of new members, and the composition of its executive. The executive consists of the President, Vice-President(s), Secretary/Treasurer, and Directors. The President has primary responsibility for determining the Society's activities, making arrangements for lectures, tours, and other special events. Since 1989, the MPDSO has been supported by the Fraser Elliot Foundation in fulfilling its mandate to represent the collective interests of its members in seeking out the expert advice of scholars, curators, and visiting lectures to contribute special assistance with collecting master prints and drawings from the 15th to the mid 20th century.

Howard, A. H., fl. 1889-1904

  • AGOAC02356
  • Person
  • 1889 - 1904

A.H. Howard (fl. 1889-1904) was an artist and member of the Toronto Art League.

Smith, Goldwin, 1823-1910

  • AGOAC00744
  • Person
  • 1823-1910

Goldwin Smith (1823-1910) was a prominent journalist, academic and liberal reformer who spent the latter part of his life in Toronto. Born in Reading, England, he was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, and was the Regius Professor of History at Oxford from 1858 to 1866. Smith began to publish widely on history and political reform. He moved to the United States in 1868, and taught briefly at Cornell University, to which he retained a connection for the rest of his life. He moved to Toronto in 1871, and married Harriet Elizabeth Mann (née Dixon) the widow of William Henry Boulton, in 1875. Smith thus became master of the Grange house and estate in central Toronto, and became a pillar of Toronto society. His journalistic career included a brief employment at the Globe, after which he joined independent publishing ventures including the Canadian Monthly and National Review and the Evening Telegram. He then published his own journal, the Bystander, sporadically between 1879 and 1890. Smith also published widely in other local and international news journals. He took part in important civic and educational reform initiatives, including serving on the new board of the University of Toronto. The Grange remained his wife's property and was willed by her to the city of Toronto to serve as a public art gallery, later becoming the first home of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Varley, Frederick Horsman, 1881-1969

  • AGOACO00854
  • Person
  • 1881-1969

Frederick Horsman Varley, painter, was born in Sheffield, England in 1881. He studied at the Sheffield School of Art 1892–1900, and at the Koninklijk Akademie voor Shone Kunsten (Académie royale des beaux-arts) in Antwerp for the following two years. After working as an illustrator and art teacher in England, he immigrated to Canada and obtained work as a commercial illustrator in Toronto in 1912, the same year he first exhibited his art work at the Canadian National Exhibition. In 1914, Varley joined Tom Thomson, A.Y. Jackson and Arthur Lismer on sketching trip to Algonquin Park in Ontario. Some of his most famous works resulted from his association with these artists. He participated in the War Art program after the war in 1918 and was a founding member of the Group of Seven in 1920. Although he painted numerous landscapes, his interest lay more in portraiture, which he pursued during the 1920s. Varley moved to Vancouver in 1926 to teach at the School of Decorative and Applied Arts. His landscapes from this period are marked by fine draftsmanship, exotic colour and unusual vantage points. In 1933 he and J.W.G. Macdonald opened their own school, the British Columbia College of Arts, which closed in 1935. Varley lived subsequently in Ottawa and Montreal, returning in 1944 to Toronto. The Art Gallery of Ontario held a retrospective of his work in 1954. He died in Toronto in 1969. Varley was a member of the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto. His work is in numerous Canadian public collections.

Challener, Frederick S., 1869-1959

  • AGOAC00487
  • Person
  • 1869 - 1959

Frederick Sproston Challener, painter, was born in Whetstone, England in 1869 and came to Canada in 1870. He studied at the Ontario School of Art, was first exhibited in 1900 at the Royal Canadian Academy and subsequently worked as a newspaper artist. After a tour of Europe and the Middle East in 1898-99, he began working as a muralist and participated in the decoration of the recently completed Toronto City Hall. At the end of the First World War, Challener worked as a painter for the Canadian War Records Department. He made his career chiefly by creating murals for passenger boats, restaurants, hotels—such as Fort Rouillé in the King Edward Hotel,Toronto—office buildings and theatres, including the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. He also produced easel paintings, watercolours and drawings in a realistic, romantic style. From 1927-1952 he taught at the Ontario College of Art, during which period he made notes and assembled material on Canadian artists. He died in Toronto in 1959. Challener was a member of numerous arts organizations including the Toronto Art Students’ League, Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy, Society of Mural Decorators of Toronto and the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto (founding member, 1908). His work is in the National Gallery of Canada, the Civic Art Gallery, Winnipeg, the Art Gallery of Ontario and numerous public buildings.

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